Checa wins Superpole at impressive speed BMW second

Carlos Checa (Althea Racing) took his second pole of the 2011 season by posting the fastest lap of the weekend in Superpole three, a 1'28.099. Local rider Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) will line up behind Checa at his home track, with another British rider, Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team Superbike) third. The last spot on the front row will be taken by Czech star Jakub Smrz (Effenbert - Liberty Racing Ducati). Noriyuki Haga (Pata Racing Team Aprilia) and Max Biaggi (Aprilia Alitalia) completed the top six while leading contender Marco Melandri (Yamaha World Superbike Team) just missed out on the final Superpole session and will start Sunday's races from row three.
Carlos Checa: "What can I say? Everything is working so well here at Donington, we expected to go well and we did it.
Our progress from yesterday to today was quite comfortable, basically today the tyres were working well with these conditions and this cold. With one lap to get going it was not easy to get confidence but I was able to get a good enough time to get the pole and that's important for tomorrow."

BMW Motorrad Motorsport’s Leon Haslam qualifying second fastest for tomorrow’s two races at the historic circuit. BMW Motorrad Motorsport’s Leon Haslam and Troy Corser were in confident mood for Superpole, especially with Haslam having set his personal best lap of the weekend (1:28.968) in the practice session just prior to Superpole.

The first Superpole session saw Haslam set an amazing time of 1:28.720 on his first flying lap, after which he parked his S 1000 RR in the pit garage and sat out the rest of the session, waiting to see if the other riders could challenge this time. Only British rider Tom Skyes went faster – in the dying seconds of the session – and Haslam finished the session second fastest. Troy Corser ended this session in seventh place, having completed seven laps and also setting his fastest lap of the weekend so far.

Superpole 2 saw the remaining 12 riders take for the track for a 12-minute shootout. Haslam improved his time yet again on the #91 RR, with a time of 1:28.550 achieved on his first flying lap. This put Leon third fastest and safely through to SP3, although his team-mate Troy Corser was not so lucky, finishing the session in tenth, so he will start from row three of the grid tomorrow.

Superpole 3 saw the remaining eight riders compete for final grid positions over just 10 minutes of track time. Getting faster with each session, Leon posted 1:28.365 on his first lap – good enough for provisional pole until Phillip Island winner Carlos Checa dipped under this time. No one else was able to match their pace, so this means that Leon will start tomorrow’s two races from second on the grid.

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Leon Haslam: “I’m really pleased with how things have gone today. Donington’s my local circuit so I’m really looking forward to tomorrow. We’ve got the front row start we wanted and we’ve definitely made some good progress from the last round in Australia, so hopefully Sunday will be a dry day and we can be there at the front, have a consistent race and be in with a chance of victory.”

Troy Corser: “We had no serious issues apart from some small vibrations in the rear tyre on the second qualifier. We are still trying to find a good setting. The cold weather was no problem, but it did have an effect on the condition of the tyres after a few laps, which seemed to be tearing up quite a bit with the cold. On the whole I am happy but not so happy with the result, but we know our race tyre is quite good and our lap times are consistent so we are still confident of a good result tomorrow. We just need to get a good start and then we will see what is possible.”